Fall Guys and Zeitgeists

May 6 - Jun 30, 2005


During May and June, the George Adams Gallery will exhibit new works in a variety of media by Don Colley. Titled Fall Guys and Zeitgeists, the exhibition continues Colley's exploration of the traveling carnival, exposing the darker side of carnies and clowns. Similar to his last show with the gallery in 2002, the works in the exhibition include sketchbook drawings, glazed ceramic tiles, and Colley's unique scratched plastic drawings.

In Fall Guys and Zeitgeists  - referring to the intellectual, moral and cultural state of an era - Colley uses the carnival life as a metaphor for contemporary issues.  References to current social and economic disparities and political mayhem take the form of carnies fighting townsfolk, pumpkin head figures rising up against scarecrows, and clowns struggling with circus animals.  Colley relies on comic book imagery and framing devices to punctuate his narrative. For example, an untitled glazed tile depicts a young woman dressed in brightly patterned clothes kneeling before a crowd. The woman holds a severed clown head in her outstretched hands undercutting the seemingly funhouse atmosphere.

Also included in the exhibition is a series of small-scale drawings in pencil and gouache on antique looking paper.  The clowns and circus figures appear plucked from the turn of the century dressed in straw hats, pinstriped suits, fedoras and bowlers.   In Calling of the Falls, a trio of carnies, one sitting atop a floating barrel, makes their way towards an unseen waterfall.  The scene carries a sense of resignation as well as nostalgia.  In a related scratched plastic drawing---incised into green plastic revealing a contrasting yellow underneath--the addition of a detailed landscape adds to the foreboding prospects of the three figures.

The exhibition will also feature an early painting titled Waiting 4 The Muzez from 1984.  Employing acrylic and painted wood cutouts on canvas, a barrage of cartoon figures--Batman, Robin, Davie Crocket, the Lone Ranger, among others--converge on a movie screen before a silhouetted audience.   The large-scale canvas is pierced by close to 100 darts as if the audience of the painting was participating in the chaos.

Born in 1954, Colley received his BFA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1980. He has exhibited widely in Chicago and Philadelphia. This is his second one-man exhibition in New York.


Exhibition Checklist

Main Gallery
(Clockwise from entrance)

Untitled, 2005
pencil, pen and gouache on paper
14 1/2 x 18 inches
DCd 13

Candied Striped Carnies, 2005
pencil, pen and gouache on paper
14 1/2 x 18 inches
DCd 14

Il Circo degli Patronaggio Luminati, 1993
metal and wood lamp
7 x 8 1/2 x 10 inches (shade),
2 3/4 x 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches (base)
DCs 1

1) Gibberish
2) Text/Font Study
pen and ink on paper
16 1/2 x 10 3/8 inches
DCd 17

1) Out of me way-help-POLICE!!
2)Sak-re-lij
pen and ink on paper
16 1/2 x 10 3/8 inches
DCd 16

1) GWB in Bonnet
2) Untitled (Zebra)
pen and ink on paper
16 1/2 x 10 3/8 inches
DCd 18

House of Wood, 1987
scratchboard, plexiglass, artist's frame
58 x 57 1/2 inches
DCp 14

Glimmer, 2004
glazed porcelain tile, artist's frame
11 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches
DCt 27

Intermezzo, 2005
glazed porcelain tile (diptych), artist's frame
15 1/4 x 22 inches
DCt 33

Judicious, 2004
glazed porcelain tile, artist's frame
16 x 15 1/2 inches
DCt 28

Progeny, 2004-05
scratchboard, plexiglass, artist's frame
21 1/2 x 31 1/2 inches
DCp 13

Untitled (Obedience), 2004
glazed porcelain tile, artist's frame
8 x 8 inches
DCt 21

Le beau monde, 2005
glazed porcelain tile (diptych), artist's frame
15 1/4 x 22 inches
DCt 32

Western Light, 2004
glazed porcelain tile
12 x 12 inches
DCt 26

Waiting 4 The Muzez, 1984
acrylic on canvas, darts, painted wood
10 x 13 feet
DCp 07

Starved, 2003
scratchboard, artist's frame
9 x 8 3/4 inches
DCp 12

Welcome Back Jack, 2003
glazed porcelain tile, artist's frame
12 3/4 x 12 inches
DCt 23

Calling of the Falls, 2005
scratchboard, artist's frame
6 3/4 x 12 inches
DCp 11